Research Interests

My career has focussed primarily on theoretical and experimental population dynamics and community ecology. My earliest work was on the ecological energetics of Odonata (dragonflies), and my main long-term studies continued over many years to use insects as model systems for a range of different ecological questions, particularly the insect assemblage feeding on bracken-fern (Pteridium aquilinum) at sites all over the world. In the middle of my career I worked extensively on theoretical and empirical studies of food-webs. Most recently I have been interested in the impacts of global environmental change on populations, communities and ecosystems, and on applying fundamental principles of population dynamics to conservation biology. I have also worked on biological pest control, and whilst I was at Imperial College I pioneered the use of a large-scale controlled environment facility (the Ecotron) for ecological research into the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to species loss, climate change and rising CO2 concentrations. Throughout my career I have promoted the study of large scale patterns and processes in ecology, in the sub-discipline now known as 'macro-ecology'. I am no longer active in research, but concentrate instead on how science is translated into government policy, and how to enhance and improve the use of environmental science in decision-making by governments.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology